February 10, 2014, 2:58 PM

Personalization can bring e-mail marketing rewards

An Experian study finds that personalizing e-mails leads to higher open rates and more clicks in e-mails.

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E-retailers hoping to reach more consumers with e-mail marketing should personalize those messages, suggests a new report from Experian Marketing Services.

Its “2013 Email Market Study” says that messages personalized to the recipient are opened at a rate 29% higher  than are non-personalized messages, when measured by unique consumers.

Click rates for personalized e-mails also are 41% higher than messages without personalized features. So-called “triggered mailings”—that is, e-mail sent when a customer takes a certain action, such as leaving an item in an online shopping cart or browses certain product categories—have 25% higher unique open rates when the messages are personalized, Experian says. Click rates on such e-mails are 51% higher than triggered e-mails that are not personalized.

Personalized e-mail subject lines also can help retail chains prompt shoppers to open e-mail. Experian says unique open rates for e-mail messages with personalized subject lines are 37% higher than messages without personalized subject lines for messages that stem from multichannel retailers.

“Consumers have come to expect content tailored to their unique interests and preferences, and there is a clear business case for why marketers need to meet those expectations,” says Peter DeNunzio, general manager, cross-channel marketing, Experian Marketing Services. “As the Email Market Study indicates, marketers are testing various personalization tactics and consumers are responding, but we still have more to learn.”

The report also measured the social networks promoted within e-mail marketing messages and found that in 2013:

• Facebook was promoted by 93% of brands surveyed, down from 98% in the year before.

• Twitter was promoted by 88%, down from 91% in 2012.

• YouTube warrants mention by 50%, up from 45% in 2012.

• Google Plus was promoted in e-mails by 22%, up from 12%.

• Pinterest was promoted by 64%, up from 32%.

• Instagram went from virtually zero to 39%.

Experian based its findings on its regular quarterly analysis of e-mail marketing messages along with survey responses from about 100 marketers in such industries as retail, travel, media and entertainment, publishing, technology, and nonprofit.


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